Running

I have always dreamed of being able to run. But as I headed into the teenage years my ankles constantly ached. My dad was adamant I was faking it and “proved it” by having an xray of my ankles…which of course showed no injury. Then as I grew older I discovered, of course, I had a lot less fitness than the kids who could run. So I found myself using “I have my period” as an excuse for PE … every single week. I was terribly uncoordinated … so I really struggled with ball sports. Then add in the fact that the students picked the teams and I just couldn’t get into PE/Sport.

I would consider myself the sort to not play well with others. I think I am a nice enough person and cope ok with one-on-one situations, but I am not the biggest fan of groups. Then add in the fact that I have little patience and (according to the CAT team…who are right) “poor impulse control” so I don’t necessarily like to train with others. If I am going to exercise I want it to be on my terms, my pace, my timing ect. The 12WBT forums are filled with meet ups for big group exercises and training buddies and for a moment I considered it. After all with all the shit going on in my life I could always use an extra friend right? But I decided against it as when I first started the program I was on upside down sleep cycles and was walking impulsively at midnight…I don’t think many people would appreciate a call after 11pm asking if they wanted to go for a walk in the rain.

Which brings me back to running. It doesn’t require a partner. It doesn’t require me to show up at xx gym and pay xx dollars and xx time. I can literally put on my runners and pop in my headphones and be out the door in 3 minutes. If I feel like running but the girls dad has to leave in 25 minutes I can go and do 20 minutes…no “oh well I can’t fit in a trip to the gym, a class, then coming home”. I love it. Walking is the same thing…but I want to run.

I have four general types of nightmare:

  1. Dinosaurs (Jurassic park type stuff…I am thirty and I still have these)
  2. Being around/near my abuser or finding him near my daughters (I was sexually abused when I was 12)…this one can see me wake up screaming
  3. The girls father doing something horrible (so far the worst was I dreamt he was having an affair with a 15yo male prostitute with aids…and he was sleeping with me too also giving me aids…I threw him out of the house for that one…for something I made up in my own subconscious)
  4. Needing to scream and nothing coming out or needing to run away and not being able to

And so running has literally become a dream to me. I want so badly to be able to run and run and run. Sometimes I could make the bus…if I ran, and I just shrug, turn around and go home til the next one (a full forty minutes to eighty minutes later in my suburb). Somedays I do run…for maybe 10-15 seconds. Then I almost throw up. I wheeze loudly. I cough. It’s really horrible.

A few years ago I got all hyped up about running and downloaded an mp3 running program to listen to. I made it halfway through day one. I was running through my suburb in a place that had no houses (we are a developing suburb) and I noticed this van following me. When the guy stopped, got out and came toward me I ran all the way home. I now think he was lost and was going to ask for directions…but it was dark and I was a chicken….but come to think of it that would make a great running program as I really did sprint the six odd blocks home.

As times have changed that running program now is an app. Actually there are multiple apps of the same sort. Mine is the “ease into 5km” by Bluefin apps. It is an 8 week interval program that has you warm up (walk) for five minutes, then alternates short periods of running (as short as 30 seconds) with recovery periods of walking in between. Followed by a five minute walk/cool down at the end. It is designed to be done three times a week and each week the runs get longer and the recovery period gets shorter…supposedly allowing you to build up to a straight 5km run.

I am terribly unfit. The first day I ran the maximum heart rate that I recorded was a whopping 198bpm. In just a week my fitness has improved so much that I can’t get past 180bpm even when running my little heart out. I might point out here that I am carrying a lot of extra weight and I have been in bed for two years. My doctor has said my heart rate spike is totally fine as long as it doesn’t stay there for long periods of time. It is all part of going from unfit…to fit (hopefully one day soon). But I have no blood pressure issues, no heart issues and apart from my diabetes which is currently in “remission” all that is wrong with me is that I am unfit and overweight. Please don’t go out there and give yourself a heart attack just because I reached that particular bpm…talk to your own doctor before starting any exercise plan…because quite frankly, I have nothing worth suing over *wink*

I am absolutely loving the program. I was really upset the other day because it was pouring rain and I couldn’t go for a run. I did a high intensity cardio dvd and burned way more than I would have on my running program…but I still didn’t feel “right”. Maybe it is the combination of exercise and fresh air. Maybe it is the actually moving forward. I don’t know what it is…but I love it. I have done four runs now. I repeated day one and day two of week one twice each because I am taking it slow. I love that my app lets me play my favourite running tunes, tells me when to start running, start walking and when I have reached half way. It also tells me when my last run is and I really push myself that last one. It also has GPS so it tells me how far I ran/walked as well as what my fasted walk time and run time was. I also run the nike+app in the background as the program only goes for 20-25 minutes and afterwards I like a good long walk. The nike+ app gives me a notice for each km I walk/run along with my current time it is taking me per kilometre. The “ease into 5km” switches its GPS and monitoring off at the end of the program so that is why I have the second one.

At the moment my running is more like an 80yo shuffling along with a walking frame…but I don’t care. I love that sometimes I am so focused (and not dying) that I am totally surprised when it tells me I can walk again. One day I will be one of those girls you see out running. Perfect form, pony tail swishing from side to side and not breaking a sweat. Until then stay downwind of me.

project:girl

Stagnant

For the second week in a row I haven’t lost any weight. I knew it would come eventually – which is why I signed up for the 12WBT but I hoped that with my exercising a bit more it wouldn’t happen so soon.

I have stopped loosing weight at just under 88kgs. Before I I allow myself to be too upset that is a loss of just over 16kgs since November. Slow and steady.

My weight loss was first thanks to lowering my medication significantly. As it started to taper off I lowered the dosage again. I didn’t lower the dose too lose weight, but (if you have read the blog) because I didn’t like what medication had done to me. I was then also diagnosed with diabetes and discovered I couldn’t keep my sugars down while eating carbs. So I cut out almost all carbs and sugars from my diet and tried to stick to around 1400 calories a day and the weight continued to fall off while I sat in bed watching Spencer Tracey/Katharine Hepburn movies.Then It started to taper off again, then I lost almost 2 kgs, then back to nothing. I added in exercise, but at the same time I started adding back in carbs (much to my own detriment).

After attempting to add back in carbs with no effect on my blood sugar levels I have decided to, at least until I can see a diabetes educator, stay carb free. The carbs have left me feeling lethargic, extremely volatile in regards to mood swings, bloated and just awful. But I want to start cleaning up that diet. Initially it was filled with lean protein, salads and some yoghurt & nuts snacking on tins of tuna in spring water when I was really hungry. Now I admit I sometimes eat a big plate of bacon and eggs twice a day and find myself reaching more and more for the protein bars. The amount of fat in my diet has totally sky rocketed.

I also am going to slowly try to get closer to 1200 calories a day, without counting my salmon oil capsules (I take 10 a day which works out to be almost 100 calories on their own…but that is for my mental health, so not negotiable). This week I am going to try to stick to 1350 or less, the following week 1300 or less – and so on.

Exercise. I don’t like it. I also didn’t like pushing myself to exhaustion as it ended up leaving me unable to exercise for awhile. My gym trial is up tomorrow and I won’t be renewing it. The main reason behind it is the hours. I am currently sleeping about 5am-5pm. By the time I am concious enough to do anything they are closed, or I have missed the last bus. But I have enjoyed going and am going to look into the basic no frills gym literally 100m from my house that is open 24 hours a day. I am also going to try to commit to just 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week (with a rest day in between). While I am so proud of what I achieved with my 30km in a week challenge….I am currently in a fragile state of mind. I need to focus on my mental health more than anything at the moment.But I do love my swimming. The gym across the road doesn’t have a pool…but it looks like we are going swimming as a family once a week now (with the girls best homeschool friends) so I can swim then.

Doctors & Psychologists. I have had an appointment to see my new GP almost every day for the last 2 weeks and haven’t once gone. I am up long after she leaves the office and sleeping, any time, is so important for my sanity that I have decided to stop fighting it and just sleep when I can for the time being. I really need to see her to try to get some help in managing my sleep cycles better. I also am in desperate need of psych help to move forward. I am keeping myself just barely sane at the moment. The slightest thing could tip and I would be back to where I was a week ago (investigating the possibility of going back into hospital).

Medication. I have decided, at 150mg, to hold off on reducing any more. I still don’t have the clarity I want, or have many of the side effects lifted. I can read again though which is absolutely divine. I have read about 4 books in the last 2 weeks. At the moment I am too unstable to push myself by lowering the medication. Again, if I lower it and crumble and end up back in hospital I will loose the ability to make that decision for myself and will no doubt end up back on everything that has taken me forever to get off.

Stagnant. It really is how I feel at the moment. There is so much I want to do and try, so many plans I keep making and breaking….but if I push and fall apart….well I just don’t want to. Focus needs to be on my mental health first, physical health second and everything else after.

wish me luck and momentum

project:girl

Warm Up Challenge #3

I did it! I actually completed 30km walking/pool walking/exercise biking/swimming in 7 days! Well actually 30.4km…if you want to be pedantic, which I do.I won’t lie and say it was easy. It was hard. Remember I have been in bed for almost two years. I lost a lot of fitness. I am heavy and unfit. But I did it.

After my 3.3km walk I realised I just needed to do a little bit, as much as I could, whenever I could. So the next day I took advantage of a 10 day trial at the local gym/pool. That day I managed 10km on the bike. It seemed so easy. I blame that entirely on the gym supervisor who came over to show me how to use the exercise bike and got to talking to me about what made me decide to join the gym. I gave her the condensed 20 minute version and she was just so lovely. It all started because I wanted to know what would be the most effective way to use the bike to get a decent work out – so she asked how fit I was. Which led to me giving her way more information than she asked for and she just encouraged me at this stage to do my best (which was working at about 20rpms less than what she normally recommends). It took me around 30 minutes to get to the 10km and after that I rewarded myself with a swim. Laps.

I was a total water baby. Some of my earliest memories have me in water. I remember my nana taking my brother & I to swimming lessons. I remember my dad taking my brother and I to the pool (then promptly falling asleep in the sun…safety was always a total priory to my stoner parents), I remember water skiing on the Murray river and body surfing in 6ft waves off the beaches of Coffs Harbour. I reached the highest swimming level I could when I was 12 and would have to wait another 3 years before I was old enough to do the next level. When I was pregnant I went to aqua aerobics and every other day would be at the pool with a friend I met there. I loved the feeling of weightlessness.

Of course the last few years I have avoided the water. As I slowly grew out of my swimsuit. The only things available in my size were hideous or way too expensive and even then…I didn’t want to reveal that much of myself. But then I lost a bunch of weight after cleaning up my diet (thanks diabetes) and a local homeschool mum said she wanted to exercise with someone so I asked her if she wanted to swim with me. The second I was back in the water I just felt…right. Unfortunately then her husband changes work hours and our swimming never happened again. But this gym has a pool.

After my 10km I was determined to swim 1km (or 40 laps of the 25m pool). Unfortunately I didn’t realise how slow I would be now. I certainly won’t be winning any races these days…in fact even in the slow laps lane I was being over taken and growled at. I didn’t even come close to the 1km and was ready to give up at 200m. But I just would take a few seconds to compose myself and do another lap. I made it to 500m. 20 laps. It took me about 45 minutes…but apart from the people who I pissed off by swimming too slowly – who cares? Add in the 1.7km round trip walking to and from there and I had reached more than halfway already! 15.5km. Not only that I went home with a spring in my step and had a massive high (I think they call it endorphins) for at least 2 hours after.

The next day I went back all positive and perky. But my legs felt like lead while using the bike. It took me almost 20 minutes to reach 5km and I just couldn’t go any further. Incredibly bummed I took my wobbly legs into the pool. They had removed the divider so it was now a 50m pool. The first 100m (50m up and back) almost killed me. I was actually crying while swimming…thankfully there was no one around to growl at me otherwise I may have had a complete nervous breakdown. I managed another lap up and back – 200m – and just couldn’t do it any more. I stepped out of the lane and decided to just keep moving. So I started walking up and down to the 20m mark (otherwise my head went under water). When I felt I could do another lap I went and swam another 100m. Then I walked some more. Then did another 100m swim. Then walked more. Then a final 100m swim. I ended up walking 20 laps of the pool – 400m + 500m swim + 5km bike +1.7km walk. Not too bad. It brought my total to 23.1km. I had used the philosophy I heard Michelle Bridges push on the 12WBT “Leave nothing in the tank”.

Unfortunately leaving nothing in the tank may have been a mistake for me. I barely made it to the walk to the bus stop. I was exhausted and bummed all the way home…where were my lovely endorphins? When I got home I was a blubbering mess. I have been really struggling with my mental health lately and this exhaustion catapulted me into a total tail spin. The next day (Sunday) I spent in bed. I had to recover. But I didn’t. I slipped further and further into my depression. My sleep cycles are also currently reversed. So Monday I slept all day and missed my doctors appointment and a much needed psych appointment. My new psych only works Mondays. Tuesday I missed another appointment – then it was ANZAC day.

Wednesday was my last day to complete the challenge. I slept until 5pm. Then the girls father was out until 10pm. By now the negative self talk had started “I knew you would fail”, “you fail at everything” “you suck”. Oh how I hate those little voices that come out when I am down. It was cold. It was dark. It was after 10pm on ANZAC day and it was raining. I decided that it was going to be worse for my mental health to “fail” than to get off my butt. So I did. Thanks to the “Just Start Walking” App I was able to track how far I walked even though I was just walking around the outside of the local school. It was freezing when I left and I figured I would probably last about 10 minutes, but if that’s all I managed…at least I managed something. It seemed my rational mind was slowly returning. Of course it started raining heavier – so I couldn’t keep my glasses on. Great – now I was almost completely blind. I kept squishing poor snails that I just couldn’t see. I just kept looking at the distance not noticing the time. But at the halfway mark I realised I had been walking for 40 minutes. It really didn’t seem that long. Under my coat (to keep the rain off me) I was sweating like a pig. I wasn’t cold any more. It stopped raining so I was able to pop my glasses back on and avoid a few more snails. At 6.5km I started heading home. 7.3km in 1hr 22 minutes. It was just before midnight that I walked through the front door. I had made it. I actually managed the whole 30km in a week. Even with 3 days in bed. Even with depression that is so bad that I might be heading back to hospital for a little stay. I did it.

Of course my hips, knees and ankles were all screaming abuse at me. I needed help to get my shoes off and I barely remained standing during my shower. I did it.

Now onto warm up challenge #4 – keep a food diary. Too easy – have been doing this since my diabetes diagnosis.

project:girl